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The Considerations Before Judgement with Sue Ward

The Considerations Before Judgement

Episode 296 features an interview with astrologer Sue Ward about the considerations before judgement in horary astrology.

The considerations before judgement are a set of aphorisms that were first outlined in the 17th century by William Lilly in his book Christian Astrology.

Lilly introduces them as a set of considerations for answering horary questions and determining whether the question is “radical” or has a strong foundation.

The considerations were passed along in later authors, and by the mid-20th century became a set of “strictures” that were believed to indicate whether a horary chart could be read at all or should be rejected outright.

In the 1980s there was a revival of interest in the practice of horary astrology, and Lilly’s work in particular, due to the reprinting of Christian Astrology in 1985.

By 1992 some astrologers such as Maurice McCann noted that Lilly still read horary questions where one or more of the considerations were present, based on the chart examples in Christian Astrology.

This raised the question of what the considerations were really supposed to be used for, and what their value was in interpreting horary charts, if any.

Sue Ward wrote a series of influential articles on the considerations starting in 1992, in which she explored their purpose and presented a new take on their meaning.

During the course of this she made a number of discoveries, including a notable observation about the working definition of void of course that Lilly used in practice.

In this interview we set out to talk about Sue’s work on the considerations before judgement, and to try to place it within the historical context of the revival of traditional horary astrology in the 1980s and 90s.

You can find out more about Sue on her blog at:


Twitter: @susanward or email: sueward2459@icloud.com

This episode is available in audio and video versions below.

Episode Outline / Show Notes

You can download the episode outline here:

Considerations Before Judgement Episode Outline

This is a version of the show notes that Chris prepared prior to the interview.


Here is a bibliography of some of the works cited in this episode. Thanks to Philip Graves from the Astrolearn Astrology Library for his help with researching this episode and scanning some of Sue’s old articles.

Sue Ward, “The Void of Course Moon: An Important Discovery,” in The Horary Practitioner, Issue 15, October 23, 1992, pp. 6-8.

Maurice McCann, “Lilliy Says… A Reference to the Considerations before Judgment,” Astrology Quarterly, Vol. 63, No. 1, Winter 1992, pp. 38-44.

Sue Ward, “Lilly’s Method: a Response to Maurice McCann,” Astrology Quarterly, Vol. 63 No. 2, Spring 1993, pp. 22-31.

Sue Ward, “Consideration Before Judgment Revisited,” The Horary Practitioner, Vol. 8, No. 22, July 1997, pp. 8-20.

Peter Stockinger and Sue Ward, William Lilly: The Last Magician, Astrologer and Adept, Mandrake, 2014.

Considerations Before Judgement Images

Here are some images of the considerations before judgement as they appear in William Lilly, Christian Astrology (1647), pp. 121-123:

William Lilly, Christian Astrology, pp. 120-121

William Lilly, Christian Astrology, pp. 122-123

Update (4/6/2021): For more on the considerations see episode 298 titled Revisiting the Considerations Before Judgement in Horary Astrology.


Here are some timestamps for topics covered at different points in the episode:

00:00:00 Intro
00:01:30 Sue’s background
00:07:25 Sue’s study of horary astrology
00:10:44 Teacher Olivia Barclay
00:14:40 Notable students of Olivia
00:16:52 William Lilly and the revival of horary
00:27:43 Overview of Lilly’s considerations before judgement
00:37:30 Considerations became “strictures” in 1970’s
00:41:40 Maurice McCann’s article on considerations
00:48:20 John Frawley’s statements on the considerations
00:49:55 Sue’s article responding to McCann
00:52:06 Importance of context in horary
00:56:58 Problem of preconceptions about history
01:00:07 Sue’s reverence for Lilly’s text
01:05:08 Criteria for horary questions
01:15:01 The downside to computer charts
01:16:56 The magic in the horary process
01:18:50 The astrologer’s role in the horary chart
01:22:00 Publishing details of Christian Astrology
01:23:56 Sue’s book about William Lilly
01:31:20 Consideration 1: Lord of the Hour and of the Ascendant
01:45:05 Consideration 2: Ascendant in first few degrees of a sign
01:48:22 Consideration 3: Ascendant is in the last few degrees of a sign
01:59:04 Consideration 4: Moon in the later degrees of a sign
02:05:14 Consideration 5: Moon in the via combusta
02:07:23 Consideration 6: Moon is void of course
02:33:25 Consideration 7: Cusp of the 7th house or ruler afflicted
02:43:27 Consideration 9: Saturn in the 7th house
02:45:57 Consideration 8: Saturn in the ascendant
02:46:39 Consideration 10: Lord of the Ascendant combust
02:49:08 Consideration 11: Lord of the 7th unfortunate, or in fall, or malefic bounds
02:48:21 Consideration 12: When the testimonies of benefics and malefics are equal
02:54:47 Christian Astrology written during a plague
02:55:44 Sue’s take on the recent Jupiter-Saturn conjunction
02:57:50 Considerations summary
02:59:34 Sue’s book on Lilly
03:01:38 Sue’s offerings and blog
03:03:44 Closing remarks

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A full transcript of this episode is available: Episode 296 transcript

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